# How to think about Ethereum VS Polkadot
*Vitalik and Gavin Wood recently did a Digix fireside [chat](https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1176&v=vRqJK16t4-I) on Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot.*
As someone who contributes to both ecosystems, I found the following discourse to be clear and concise, in terms of how to navigate true intention vs speculation in existing communities.
We should get a third party, i.e. Digix to promote this content more. The talk had a small audience, adn they didn't do much followup ensuring this material gets more widely shared.
Here's a very rough transcript of the original discourse:
### Is there a common ground between Polkadot and Ethereum? What do the projects represent in the ecosystem?
**Gavin**: Projects with tokens will inevitably attract attention & speculation around competition.
You are resource constrained. You want to put resources into the project that generates the most profit. But the competition [between the two platforms] is entirely only in this regard. An analogy for this train of thought is that you can either choose to buy Microsoft stock or IBMV stock.
In reality, there's very little direct competition in terms of the product.
Polkadot is interested in being a meta protocol, with a lower level abstraction than Ethereum, i.e. smart contract level.
Polkadot pushes out different goals. Those goal are around chain upgradability, governance, interactivity. Polkadot wants to facilitate interactions that are much more about say, off-chain on-chain cooperation than interactions in a smart contract.
**Vitalik**: I generally agree with a lot of that. Polkadot tests out very different technical and economic hypotheses. There are big differences in terms of relationships between protocol and applications and what expectations applications have at the protocol level.
Ethereum is not going in the direction of active governance - it's going more towards layer two [solutions on that front].
Also, smart contracts is about anyone being able to use and deploy applications quickly. [It's different] than what makes sense to turn into a para-chain (full blockchain). Right now, everything feels early.
Before we have real serious applications other than using cryptocurrency for censorship resistance. [I advise ] everyone to approach this space with uncertainty and a healthy mindset with how things are built.
### What are some synergies for how Polkadot and Ethereum could work hand in hand?
**Vitalik**: The two protocols both use Web Assembly, which creates possibilities for interoperability. You should be able to make alight client in Ethereum to be used by other blockchains to integrate.
There's a lot of opportunity for apps built on one system to talk to applications built on a different ecosystem. Tokens built in Ethereum could jump over to polkadot to fulfill other applications.
**Gavin**: Parity has a blockchain toolkit called Substrate that forms the basis for phase 0 of Polkadots implementation. There is also a continued technical degree of ability to share resources [between Parity Ethereum and Polkadot].
There are innovations / similarities in protocol level, e.g. consensus algorithms are in the same family of algorithms, networking, parachains tackle similar problems as shasper. We're all trying to stay ahead of the curve on working on these things.
### Once Ethereum, Polkadot are live, what use cases will they have for the community?
**Vitalik**: Ethereum cares most about targeting:
- People who are building many, different small scale applications that can all talk to each other on top of Ethereum's homogenous layer
- Strongly preserving protocol guarantees of Ethereum
- Making particular trade offs in terms of its economics. [e.g. paying gas.]
It's hard to say exactly what use-cases these tradeoffs make more sense for. i.e. if Facebook launches fbcoin, not sure which platform they would want to use.
In general, there is common mission of experimenting with different technical approaches. Whatever it is that people want to build, go with whatever makes sense for you.
**Gavin**: Ethereum has particular design goals, i.e. process lots of transactions, ensure homogenous environment, ensure that actors within that environment can quickly / easily interoperate. Along with strong and clear stable protocol goals.
Polkadot hopefully can be seen as a protocol around mutability, upgradability. Almost like a living protocol.
It's for people who want what's launched at genesis to keep changing and keep getting better. For example, this is why we're not putting quantum crypto into genesis, because it is something that can be added later on.
### What should the community be looking out for going forward?
**Gavin**: be cool. Don't be dicks.
**Vitalik** [jokingly]: I disagree on that! [audience laughter]
**Gavin**: Ethereum was the underdogs for the Bitcoin community. When they did recognise Ethereum, it was to say Ethereum was a bad idea and to project negativity.
It's worth remembering what our original goals were, which is to push the technology forward. You can only buy so many tokens… but we shouldn't reduce all of this to " how can we get rich the fastest".
What we need to do is think about how can we change the world with blockchain.
> **Call to Action**: We should ask the right questions, e.g.:
What are the technical reasons this project is better or worse?
How does this project change the world?
Why is changing the world in this way a good thing?
**Vitalik**: compared to the big world, a bulk of it has not been decentralised. We are all (including bitcoin) the underdogs. Regardless of how many people in the communities think that they are competing. There are these large common interests these projects are pushing forward.
> **Call to Action:**
Focus on the technical progress: WASM, consensus algorithms, quantum consensus aggregate signatures, formal verification, programming languages, zero knowledge wouldn't exist if it weren't for this sector.